There are many ways to describe KSI, aka JJ or Olajide Olutunde. Youtuber, actor, avid video-gamer, multimillionaire to name a few. The school dropout is one of the worlds biggest YouTube stars and his online following is larger than the entire population of Sweden. Not bad for a 23-year-old from Watford, who rose to prominence posting videos of himself playing Fifa online.
When IBTimes UK caught up with the entertainer for a no-holds barred chat, he was decked out in a hip, all-grey ensemble and was feeling the effects of another night spent in front of a giant TV with games console in hand. Of course thats not all hes doing these days.
He made his big screen debut in the comedy Laid in America alongside fellow web celeb Caspar Lee earlier this year and recently unveiled the music video to his new single, Jump Around, featuring Waka Flocka Flame. The track, which is a reworked version of House Of Pains 1992 classic, has already amassed over 3.4 million views on YouTube since it was unveiled two weeks ago. Thats without any promotion, he proudly states.
Not satisfied with being an online sensation, KSI finally decided to take the music thing seriously after some encouraging words from London-based British rapper and producer Sway. He has pretty much has been guiding me my whole time, he reveals.
But it hasnt been a seamless transition from online personality to musician. The avid gamer admits that it was hard to break out of the box that YouTube stars often find themselves confined to.
If you want to do music people will be like no youre a you tuber star as a youtuber. If want to do acting its no what are you doing,| he says. I guess it took a lot of years of slowly giving my audience a bit of what I really want to do, like the music and the acting.
As a result, he admits he spent years incorporating bite-sized amounts of his other passions into his Youtube videos in order for his subscribers to accept the reality that there was more to him than playing video games. Now Im able to do all three: Youtube, music and acting.
I feel like as an artist Im slowly finding my voice and slowly finding my sound. Im just trying to see what works and what doesnt. People are always saying Im getting better and better. Im always just trying to improve.
With the boisterous nature of his alter ego, its no surprise that he counts hip-hop star DMX and Ludacris as his biggest idols. They appeal to me the most, especially DMXs energy. With a lot of my sounds I always aim for energy. He is likely to bring that when he perform five dates around the UK next month.
Having already tasted fame and success and earned enough money to retire before the age of 25, KSI is reluctant to take his music talent across the pond and attempt to crack America. He says his plan is to let any move be organic I want it to a point where I am making so much noise here that America has to listen.
KSIs deadpan humour, boundless energy and global reach means he could easily give Keith Lemon a run for his money, but he insists that TV is just not for him.
I dont want to touch TV at all. For me I think TV is dead. I never watch TV. Do you watch TV? Its like going backwards, why would I want to do that? Ive already got an online presence, I dont need a TV presence. Theres no point trying to cater to an older audience.
Watch KSIs new music video: